Love: Refreshing Love

27 02 13 00:30 by tamr
The other night we had dinner at a pub in SanFrancisco, and I ordered a steak salad with bleu cheese crumbles. I'm not kidding, it was just wonderful: the saltiness of the steak, the pairing flavors of the cheese, and the Smithwicks to go along side. If we didn't have company, and if I didn't have decency, I really would have ordered another one. It tasted completely wonderful.

I thoroughly enjoy new things, even if it isn't entirely pleasant. I like new ideas, new foods, new colors, different clothes (helps being a seamstress here, I'll say that), different books, different places. It feels refreshing to me. I get a mental cabin-fever pretty quickly, so if I don't have something new going on somewhere, I get cranky. And moody. I understand this aspect of me, and I do my best to plan ahead to combat boredom. It's similar to football fans going to a rugby game: sure, it's a game, but it's not football. Dinner this week: not the same things we had last week. Sure, it's a meal, but it's not different. Books I'm reading? Projects I'm working on? Topics I'm thinking about? These all have to change during the week/month. Sure, I could do the same thing every day/every week, but where is the excitement in that?

Case in point: I need a new vegetable to eat, so I got a Costco bag of brussel sprouts. I can't say these are my favorite vegetable...at all...and the whole "steam until withered and drown in butter" theory doesn't work for me either. But I need to conquer this food! So today I tossed the whole bunch of them in olive oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper, basil, parsley, garlic powder and parmesan cheese and baked it at 400F for 40 minutes. I'm not kidding, it was actually really good! I don't know if I can get anyone else in the house to eat them; but between you and me, they were very very tasty.

And different! Total score.

In regards to the topic of refreshing love, I would say that it is very difficult to find refreshing love in environments or relationships that aren't fresh, innovative, creative, heartfelt, meaningful or deliberate. Love grows and changes, and adapts over time. The love Ben and I have now is a very different flavor than what it was 19 years ago. You can't eat the same can of green beans for 19 years...spice it up, be creative, and serve brussel sprouts!

Here is a story I was reading the other day that was interesting:

"Todd Putman, who worked at Coca-Cola from 1997 to 2001, said the goal ( for the company ) became much larger than merely beating the rival brands; Coca-Cola strove to outsell every other thing people drank, including milk and water. The marketing division’s efforts boiled down to one question, Putman said: “How can we drive more ounces into more bodies more often?”"

How about we say that Coke and Putnam wanted to give love to the world. They had a love product, and they had an audience who loved their product. So it was Putnam's job to find different, better, more effective ways of selling this love to people.

In his capacity, Dunn was making frequent trips to Brazil, where the company had recently begun a push to increase consumption of Coke among the many Brazilians living in favelas. The company’s strategy was to repackage Coke into smaller, more affordable 6.7-ounce bottles, just 20 cents each. Coke was not alone in seeing Brazil as a potential boon; Nestlé began deploying battalions of women to travel poor neighborhoods, hawking American-style processed foods door to door. But Coke was Dunn’s concern, and on one trip, as he walked through one of the impoverished areas, he had an epiphany. “A voice in my head says, ‘These people need a lot of things, but they don’t need a Coke.’ I almost threw up.”

All of a sudden, you realize that the love you've been selling is expensive, consumerist, financially debilitating and furthermore, it is not healthy for this audience...and it's your job to sell more. What do you do?

You quit. You just walk right out of that company and you realize that love can be refreshing. Love can lift people up. Love can compel people to be happier, live more deliberately, refreshing love can be healthy and add more years to your life. But how?

Refreshing love has got to be creative:

"They ( a huge company ) recently hired Dunn to run one of their newest acquisitions — a food producer in the San Joaquin Valley. As they sat in the hotel’s meeting room, the men listened to Dunn’s marketing pitch. He talked about giving the product a personality that was bold and irreverent, conveying the idea that this was the ultimate snack food. He went into detail on how he would target a special segment of the 146 million Americans who are regular snackers — mothers, children, young professionals — people, he said, who “keep their snacking ritual fresh by trying a new food product when it catches their attention.”...

The snack that Dunn was proposing to sell: carrots. Plain, fresh carrots. No added sugar. No creamy sauce or dips. No salt. Just baby carrots, washed, bagged, then sold into the deadly dull produce aisle.

“We act like a snack, not a vegetable,” he told the investors. “We exploit the rules of junk food to fuel the baby-carrot conversation. We are pro-junk-food behavior but anti-junk-food establishment.”

He is still in the business of love, and he has learned how to sell love for many years. But his love is creative, it is healthy, it is a deliberate idea and it lifts people up. It is creative, refreshing love.

So how do you find refreshing love in your life? This is really harder than it sounds, especially if you're already in a rut. Tony Robbins has a great 6 point idea that explains the different things people need to be happy and fulfilled in life:

Certainty: Some people need that Certainty that they can avoid pain and have comfort or pleasure. How do people get certainty? Example 1: Work Really Hard to Master Something So There is No Uncertainty That YOU Are the Best! Example 2: Lower Your Expectations. If you’re certain that it won’t work anyway you satisfy this need. My Side: I am certain that I have a marriage and a home, and our lifestyle is absolutely set. Ben works and I stay home and teach the kids. I completely rely on this Certainty to give me stability in my life.

Uncertainty: We Need Variety to Feel Alive. How do people get variety? Anything that changes your state. Different Foods, a new book, having a conversation with someone new.My Side: Uncertainty for me is weekend trips to the coast or exploring trips to the forests. Mixing things up for dinner, or starting a new television show with Ben. Painting the walls, planting new things in the garden, meeting new people

Significance: To Feel Unique, Important, and Special. EVERYONE has these needs, but what Beliefs about how to meet this need? Example 1: Serving and making a difference in the world Example 2: DominatingMy Side: Significance is extremely important to me. If I don't feel like my work, my love, my words, my time or my efforts are significant at all, I give up completely. It is important to me to have a purpose in my day/projects, and if there is no purpose, then I feel worthless. Now, this doesn't give me the leverage to be an attention seeking diva; for the most part, it is important to wisely pick your work so that it reflects the values you believe in, and to do the work as best as you can unselfishly. But I also need to know that what I am doing is for a purpose, for a reason and someone will appreciate it somehow.

Connection: Love is in our DNA. Do you meet the need for connection in Neutral ways, Negative Ways, or Empowering Ways.

My Side: Connection is pretty important to me. I am not happy just showing up and leaving, and never connecting with someone. I need to connect with the kids and with Ben every day. I absolutely don't need to be around crowds...let me correct that: I avoid crowds. But I need to connect with individuals in order to feel fulfilled.

These 4 are the Needs of the Personality… EVERYONE FINDS a Way to meet the first 4 Needs in someway but Not Everyone Meets the Last 2. The Ultimate Needs.

Growth: Everything in the world is growing or dieing. It’s a constant process ocuring in life. Reason that we grow is to satisfy the next Need…

Contribution: We GROW so we have something to give. What makes you feel alive is to know it’s MORE than just you. You are making a meaningful impact on others.

It is absolutely crucial in life to keep love refreshed.

Golden Light

15 02 12 16:39 by tamr
An old friend from Fremont needed a poem to perform at a women's conference in Portland, so she called me and asked if I could help her out. She said she liked it and was crying, so that's a good sign...especially since I haven't written much lately.

(I wish I knew how to format html better...there are actually blocks of text in here.)

When I dance

I dance in golden light.

My feet linger in the illuminated path

feeling the warmth penetrate all the way

up to my heart, and out of my mouth in song.

I found my dance in the shadow of my mother,

who gave me the gift of God’s light.

.

.

My dance was not always this way.

This golden light did not always beam

so generously upon my face.

I had already lived numerous, countless years

turning in my shoes of vanity

spinning in the light I could only see during the day.

This was not due to the turning of the Earth,

which could easily go on turning without me...

The world was simply dark

before my eyes grew accustomed to the light.

.

When I was a girl,

I wore my mother’s dancing shoes.

They were older, and worn, and beige.

They were the only shoes she had to wear

when she went out, beautifully, with my dad.

As I became a woman of my own,

my heart desired the beauty I saw in my mother.

The lavender grace that went before her through doors.

I bought colorful shoes, thinking they would usher me

through similar doors of grace;

dancing their way through life in shades of pink.

.

I wore them all through my days,

my years of dancing in the world:

the slow waltz of school,

the lazy serenade of romance,

the busy foxtrot of church,

and the confusing tango of me.

None of these shoes gave me the light

my mother possessed when she moved.

Nothing I could see

could shine so goldenly.

.

.

I had to remember before my dancing days

when I could still see the golden rays

bouncing off of daffodils and dandelions;

lighting the rooms, the world, my eyes

with the splendor of Heaven,

and the grace of His Spirit.

This was the light that surrounded my mother,

it was a light that could not come from any other.

.

I remember when I put my dyed dancing shoes away,

and finally felt the warm green grass again

on my cold bare feet,

which had been hidden away

in too many shoes.

I remembered how warm

was God’s light on my face

when I looked away from the world,

and looked up...

I-Can't-Believe-It-Worked-Baked Beans

29 08 11 05:04 by tamr
I am totally convinced that I can make anything I used to buy in a can, by myself. If a machine can do it, I can do it. The other day I was looking at my pantry and trying to think what else I could make with beans, other than refried beans (which I have seriously and thoroughly mastered).

What about baked beans? I haven't bought baked beans in ages because it just doesn't last that long. One can can feed about two people for lunch...and although that is a great deal economically, it just doesn't get much bang for the buck in my opinion.

So I looked up the recipe online, and I found one that didn't involve any canned foods. You know the recipes that say "made from scratch" but they use canned beans, canned chili, canned soup? That's not from scratch, that's from a can. I want to make dinner from SCRATCH baby.

So here is what I did....and it isn't going to be the same process I will use next time, but this will give you an idea of how easy this recipe is.

First, the ingredients I was supposed to use were these:

1 cup dried navy beans 4 cups water 1/4 cup ketchup 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons molasses 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon chili powder 1 small onion, chopped

However, I didn't have everything I needed. And I am a little too busy to do all the "Cover, and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C), and cook 6 hours longer" kind of stuff. So here is what I did:

I took a bag of navy beans, 1/2 cup of lentils and 1/2 cup of split peas (just for some variety in flavor and texture. Why not?). Boiled them for an hour in a pot of water until the top was very frothy....this breaks down the beans and you don't get gas. Yes, this really works. You could also soak them in a covered pot of water overnight, but I was in a rush.

So you drain and rinse the beans, then throw them in a crockpot and add 1 chopped yellow onion, garlic powder, kosher salt (Cheers, Alton Brown), pepper and maybe a little paprika or chili powder (just a little). Then take a pork roast and throw it in the middle. Go ahead...just throw it in. Now cook for the day, and you should be ready for the next step.

Here is where I deviated. That night we were just bushed, and it was a long day and we needed to get out of the house. So I just turned the crockpot on low and we went out to chinese food. We came home and I put the food in a bowl and put the bowl in the freezer. Because that was the only place that I had room enough for this sucker. Two days later I got the courage to take the bowl out and defrost it. So this is how I finished the recipe:

You spoon the beans and onions into a huge sauce pan (not a pot). I had a ton of beans, and I actually filled 3 mason jars for later use (and put in the fridge). I then realized that we are out of ketchup. No worries! I put in a can of tomato paste and some white vinegar instead. Then I added 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses (except I didn't have molasses, so I used honey), 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I might have added more...I just kept pouring), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon chili powder.

First I boiled all the beans in the saucepan to get them going. Then I put them in a silicone bread pan (it was the only thing I had clean) and baked it for about 20 minutes or so. In the meantime, I put the pork in the pan with a little bit of the beans, and just heated it up a bit.

But here's the thing: when all was said and done, they were the best tasting baked beans I have ever had. They were just PHENOMENAL. And I could eat about 1/2 cup of them, along with a small piece of pork. They were just astoundingly filling! It always amazes me how much more filling actual food is. I don't know what manufacturers do to their food, but food from scratch is hearty. Seriously hearty. And this is coming from a heavily pregnant woman. Plus, a 7 year old, a 6 year old, a 2 year old and a 14 month old ate every bite I gave them. And Ben LOVED it.

So that's what I did! It is an amazing recipe, and I would encourage anyone to try this!

Good Night, Mr. Brown

27 08 11 16:58 by tamr
Apparently Alton Brown is taping his last Good Eats show (it will be covering dark chocolate, if you were curious). Ben and I have loved his shows since they began, and anytime I have a question about something I reference Alton. Because he will tell you WHY you need an ingredient. I was won over when he explained why you need eggs in batter using synchronized swimmers and inertubes. It was just the fact that he explained the "whys" of cooking, instead of just accepting the recipe at face value. For those of us who agonize over why something is done, he has been a godsend.

His series, "Feasting on Asphalt," was equally amazing. I loved seeing where he ended up, and what he ended up eating. My favorite shows were when he was touring the South and getting in biscuit arguments with people.

"This lovely woman doesn't think I know what a biscuit is...EVEN THOUGH I GREW UP IN THE SOUTH."

"Honey, you don't know a biscuit from a dumpling."

I'm pretty sure there were wrestling matches when the camera was off.

To Alton Brown: We Salute You! (and thank you for all the recipes!!!)

ALTON BROWN FACTS

#1. Alton Brown grinds his own peppercorns. With his teeth.

#2. Alton Brown's chili cheese fries are healthier than raw carrots. Even after he adds the bacon and lard.

#3. Alton Brown brushes his teeth with wasabi and gargles with pickle brine. But still his breath smells like lemon merengue.

#4. Alton Brown can boil a three-minute egg in thirty-seven seconds.

#5. When Alton Brown was born, he collected the hospital slop they'd left for his mother and made it into an zesty, appetizing goulash. The dish fed the entire maternity ward for a week.

#6. In the first, as-yet-unaired episode of Iron Chef America, Alton Brown single-handedly defeated an all-star team of Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Hiroyuki Sakai. The secret ingredient was 'whimsy'.

#7. Alton Brown doesn't reduce sauces. He demoralizes sauces.

#8. Alton Brown prepares his fugu blindfolded, with one chopstick and a plastic spork. Alton Brown ain't afraid of no chump neurotoxin.

#9. Alton Brown's blender has four speeds: 'stir', 'mix', 'frappe', and 'plasmify'.

#10. Alton Brown can split a pineapple in half using only his pinkies. For coconuts, though, he has to use his thumbs.

#11. Alton Brown knows where capers come from. And he grows his own, on a Chia pet in the pantry.

#12. On Rachel Ray's show, she shows people where to eat for less than forty dollars a day. When Alton Brown eats, people pay him.

#13. Alton Brown slices ham so thin, it can only be seen using an electron microscope.

#14. Some knives can slice through a tin can and still cut a tomato. Alton Brown's knives can slice through a Pontiac, and still cut a tin can.

#15. Grown men have been known to weep for joy in the mere presence of Alton Brown's vinagrette. His hollandaise sauce can kill a man from sheer ecstacy at forty paces.

#16. Alton Brown can eat just one Lay's potato chip. If he ever bothered to eat food he didn't make himself, that is.

#17. Alton Brown once got carried away slicing carrots, and julienned his cutting board. Undaunted, he sauteed the splinters in olive oil and spices --and they were delicious.

#18. Every Burger King Alton Brown has walked into has immediately closed forever --try as they might, they simply can't 'do it his way'.

#19. Alton Brown can pair a wine with any food --including hot dogs, ice cream, raw eggs, Alpo, sawdust, and soylent green.

#20. Alton Brown's cakes don't rise. They ascend.

#21. Some meats are so tender, they seem to melt in your mouth. Alton Brown's meats are so tender, he's had entire turkeys vanish into thin air.

#22. Alton Brown's no saint. But if his chicken Kiev cures one more kid's leprosy, the church will reconsider the evidence.

#23. Alton Brown doesn't whip potatoes. Alton Brown's potatoes whip themselves, if they know what's good for them.

#24. Alton Brown's other car is the Wienermobile.

#25. Alton Brown's show is called 'Good Eats', because 'Multiple Shuddering Mouthgasms' didn't play with the network's target demographic.

#26. Alton Brown's freezer operates at minus-twenty-seven degrees. Kelvin.

#27. Alton Brown once prepared shrimp gumbo for a cooking competition, using only salt, water, canned Spam, and a packet of Arby's 'Horsey Sauce'. He took second place. He would have won, but one of the judges was allergic to shellfish.

#28. Alton Brown can fit three hundred and forty-two cookies on a standard-sized baking sheet. Without any touching.

#29. When Alton Brown slices onions, the onions cry.

#30. Alton Brown was once asked to participate in a blind orange juice taste test. He was the only person able to successfully identify the brand, style, vintage, temperature, pH level, distance to the orchard, age of the grove trees, and the names of the workers picking the fruit. Including the one who needs to start washing after bathroom breaks.

Austerity

30 06 11 05:25 by tamr
I'm trying to keep up to date on what is going on with Greece these days. It's really frightening how underwater the country is, financially. And even though they're halfway around the world...their country is making the EU sink, and the euro is tanking because they're tanking; and that burden doesn't stay isolated in a global market. It eventually effects everyone (except maybe China).

So I really wanted to understand "austerity" better, because it's one of those almost-abstract words that I get the idea of, but since I've never witnessed it I don't fully understand. Wikipedia was very helpful:

"In economics, austerity is a policy of deficit-cutting, lower spending, and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided.[1] Austerity policies are often used by governments to reduce their deficit spending[2] while sometimes coupled with increases in taxes to pay back creditors to reduce debt.[3] Austerity was named the word of the year by Merriam-Webster in 2010." (which is saying something for global finance and economics in 2010)

So what are some reasons for pulling the austerity rope?

"Austerity measures are typically taken if there is a threat that government cannot honor its debt liabilities. Such a situation may arise if a government has borrowed in foreign currencies which they have no right to issue or they have been legally forbidden from issuing their own currency. In such a situation banks may lose trust in government's ability and/or willingness to pay and refuse to roll over existing debts or demand exorbitant interest rates. In such situations, inter-governmental institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) typically come in and demand austerity measures in exchange for functioning as a lender of last resort. When the IMF requires such a policy, the terms are known as 'IMF conditionalities'.

Okay, so that's the scoop. Greece is really going under because of its socialist welfare state, and just isn't generating enough money inside to support itself financially, and is financing its system with borrowed cash. If you understand the economics of this better than I do (which I can already say, you do), don't flame me in comments :D

But here's the thing that threw me for a loop:

Examples of austerity

Argentina, 1952[15]

California, 2011[citation needed]

Cuba, 1991

Czech Republic, 2010

Germany, 2011[16]

Greece, 2010[17]

Ireland, 2010..........

Woah woah woah......what is CALIFORNIA doing on the LIST?! We passed an AUSTERITY BUDGET TODAY?! wth??

California Legisture passes austerity budget

shit. Seriously. For all the technical geniuses and innovation, universities, world-knows hospitals and medical experts, not to mention Hollywood and the gigantic money-making machine it is.....California should be swimming in gold plated pools and driving on diamond studded roads. And it just passed an austerity budget. That's just great.

(for the record, it was inevitable and we've all seen this coming. It just is astonishing to see California on the same list of nations with austerity budgets)

Father's Day: The Geek Dad Edition

07 06 11 00:55 by tamr
Chances are, if you're reading this...you are some percentage of geek. I'm honestly pretty low on the percentage, but I LOVE geek culture. It's so much more interesting than literary culture (I am actually not even close to being angsty enough to even like to be *around* literature nerds). Geeks are inventive, creative, smug (which can be good or bad, depending on your own smug %), and brimming with knowledge. This is where I excel: I know stuff about lots of stuff. If you have ever seen the Hepburn/Tracy movie, "Desk Set," which is very unlikely....BUT YOU SHOULD WATCH IT....I would love to have Bunny Watson's job. Her job is to know stuff so other departments can use her as a reference, and she works in the reference library, so she just researches stuff all day. She's pre-google, I guess.

It's beautiful. I would love to do that for the rest of my life. But anyway.

So, Father's Day is coming up...and the thing about geeks is that they are really particular about what they like, and how they like what they like. If you think you are getting them hardware for Father's Day (because they like hardware, don't they?), you're making a HUGE mistake. Huge. I guarantee you'll be getting the wrong thing from the wrong vendor, and it's the wrong model in the wrong color. That's just the way it is, so don't even think about getting them anything in this area, UNLESS they have given you the link themselves. This is how I got Ben's sliderule from some remote dude in Germany. There is only one of these in the world, and Ben sent me the link. That worked, and I still wrapped it. Mostly for me.

So hardware is out, software is probably out...if they wanted software, chances are they already have it, have already ordered it, have it on backorder or is waiting for some special sale/day/discount/the planets to align to buy it already. So software is out.

Geeks are really hard to buy for. Especially on days like Father's Day when you genuinely want to show them how much you love them, and give them a gift of gratitude. What on earth do you do?!

Okay, I'm not a pro at this yet (surprisingly), but here are some ideas I have. And I'm not putting up what we're doing for Ben. Because that would just be dumb. Ben can find out what he's getting on June 19th.

1. Gamer Dad T shirts from CafePress

2. You could always go the Think Geek route in their "pamper the Patriarch" theme. You can never go wrong with Think Geek.

3. There is Newegg, but you're really going to have to do your homework before ordering from this one.

4. There is Geekologie. The functional arcade buttons, alone, are worth checking out. I am already trying to figure out how to replace my doorbell with one of these. Or put one outside my bedroom door. Or in the kitchen and hook the garbage disposal to it. Or put it in the bathroom and wire an airfreshener to it. Heck, what can't you do with a button??

5. Then there is just the simple Geek Dad site. Ben already has all the Geek Dad books and a Geek Dad shirt, so I have no where to go with this one. But you should check it out.

6. Cards: I don't know how it is with your Geek, but we aren't really card people. Now, despite this fact (that we actually just came to realize over a conversation the other night when we finally looked at the list of "5 Languages of Love" that has been going around for years and years, and I've just guessed at until we said to each other, "have you actually read the list/book? Ya, me either." Anyway, we found out we aren't card-people.) we still get cards for special events. It is a good time to write something epically poetic, and I guarantee you...Ben is a master at flowing words. I looove his cards because they are just so beautiful to read. So, if you are going to get your Geek a card, at least get him something geek-worthy. Zazzle.com is a good option.

7. Finally: make sure you let him know how much you appreciate him as a husband and a father. Have the kids make cards for him with unicorns and robots on them, cook steak and have Guinness on hand. Let him know you know what he really wants, and ....you know...."show him when the kids go to bed."

Hope this helps! :)

RPG's for Kids

06 06 11 18:17 by tamr
It is astonishing how many board games families have. I've visited people's houses where there were entire rooms devoted to storing board games. They have a "board game night" once a week. It is impressive...and daunting. Soooo maaanyyyy boards....

Mainly because we're not a board game family. At all.

I used to play board games when I was growing up, but it kind of ended when I was around 11 or so. Since the kids have gotten older, I've gotten a few games for the house; but they don't stay together, and we're missing most of the pieces. I just noticed the Chutes and Ladders box is actually holding other papers in the schoolroom. I've played Candyland a few times with the kids, but it wasn't impressionable enough that they have ever asked to play it again.

They're just such simple games...we need something better suited for us.

And I was thinking: we need an RPG for the kids. No, we TOTALLY NEED AN RPG FOR THE KIDS. We need an RPG night.

I was first thinking about making an RPG for Candyland, and I actually found a tutorial for it (here), but it doesn't make much sense (to me, but I also have marshmallow-brain today, so who knows).

So then I googled "kids rpg," and found a trove of goodies:

List of RPG resources for kids

Firefly Games

Memento Mori Games...lots of themes available here, from Harry Potter to Dragons to Dinosaurs

"Monkey, Ninja, Pirate, Robot: the Roleplaying Game" That's all I'm saying.

Here is a Dad's introduction of RPG to his 4 year old daughter

So, there is a ton of links (some working, some not) on the List of RPG resources for kids here. We're going to have to visit a few of these and see which ones work for us!

Quinoa recipes

20 05 11 23:32 by tamr
I'm going through my meal list for the house, preparing for the upcoming week, and I needed some different side dishes. I get into potato/rice ruts too often. I found some quinoa recipes that look AMAZING. I found them on allrecipes.com (which I frequent for ideas often, especially in rut-stages).

Curried Quinoa

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup quinoa

2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook and stir for 2 minutes; add quinoa and cook and stir until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Pour broth into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add curry and chile powders; cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 491 | Total Fat: 20.4g | Cholesterol: 6mg

Cheese Quinoa Pilaf with Spinach

Ingredients

1/4 cup quinoa

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/3 cup grated goat gouda cheese

Directions

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, and cook until the quinoa is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a mesh strainer, and rinse until cold; set aside. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stir in the sunflower seeds, and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic softens and the aroma mellows, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cooled quinoa and spinach; cook and stir until the quinoa is hot, and the spinach has wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, and all but a pinch of the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 267 | Total Fat: 21.9g | Cholesterol: 13mg

Quinoa with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

we're also trying to figure out how to eat chickpeas without just having it as something else to pick out of your salad. As an aside: I put one can of chickpeas and one can of tomato paste in a crockpot with a whole chicken and some spices, and it was freaking amazing. Do it!

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups water

1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

1 tomato, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons lime juice

4 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, and rinse under cold, running water until the water no longer foams. Bring the quinoa, salt, and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Once done, stir in the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, garlic, lime juice, and olive oil. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley to serve.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 185 | Total Fat: 5.4g | Cholesterol: 0mg

Quinoa stuffed pork tenderloin

Ingredients

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small apples - peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons pine nuts

4 mushrooms, chopped

2 tablespoons white wine

1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch garam masala, or to taste

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion, garlic, apples, raisins, pine nuts, and mushrooms until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the white wine, and cook another minute until the liquid has evaporated. Combine the apple mixture and quinoa until evenly mixed; set aside.

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Cut the pork tenderloin from one side through the middle horizontally to within one-half inch of the other side. Open the two sides and spread them out like an open book. Place between two sheets of heavy plastic (resealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the tenderloin with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/2 inch.

Season the tenderloin on both sides with cinnamon, garam masala, salt, and black pepper. Spoon the quinoa filling onto the tenderloin, then roll up and secure with kitchen twine or toothpicks. Place onto a roasting pan. Roast in the preheated oven until the pork is no longer pink in the center, about 35 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the filling should read 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Footnotes

Cook's Notes

For the wine used in cooking (and for drinking with the meal) I like a gewurtztraminer because it is sweet and fruity which will suit the stuffing. If you wish you can make a sauce from the drippings of the pork as long as you have not used a glass baking dish. To do this, remove the pork from the baking pan and cover with foil. Put the non-glass pan directly onto the stove and add a splash of wine, some chicken stock, and heat through while scraping up the brown bits. You may choose to thicken with cornstarch or allow to reduce to a saucy consistency.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 282 | Total Fat: 12.5g | Cholesterol: 49mg